Nicholas Hoult has dipped his toes in every possible film genre, though horror has been his latest conquest. Most recently he portrayed Renfield in Chris McKay's comedy-horror by the same name, where his character served as the henchman to Nicolas Cage’s Dracula. Prior to that, he excelled as Tyler in 2022’s The Menu, directed by Mark Mylod, starring alongside Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy. He is certainly widely recognized as Peter III, emperor of Russia, from Hulu’s The Great, although they bid him farewell in the latest season. And if none of those ring the bells, millennials definitely know him as Tony Stonem from our childhood obsession over Skins.
Outside of film, Hoult is an ambassador for Jaeger-LeCoultre. Known for its innovation and creativity, the Swiss watch brand combines technical ingenuity with aesthetic beauty and understated sophistication to create the finest timepieces. To celebrate the opening of Reverso Stories, brand ambassadors Lenny Kravitz, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nicholas Hoult took part in an elegant NYC soiree. On view now, the immersive exhibition explores the creative universe of watch design over the past 90 years.
FLAUNT joined in the celebration and sat down with Hoult to chat about craft and craftsmanship.
Tell me a little bit more about your relationship and partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre.
My relationship with Jaeger started at the Venice Film Festival. They’ve sponsored the festival for many years. I am not allowed to talk about specific films at the moment, because of the strike, but I was there with a film and Jaeger reached out and mentioned wanting to lend me a watch to wear to the premiere, and that was the beginning of the relationship. I know people always say these things grow organically, but for a few years in a row I had movies at the festival, and I would meet and spend time with the Jaeger family there, and then they asked me to participate and be an ambassador for them.
Yes, you've been starring in their campaigns as an ambassador for a few years now. What makes their watches, in particular, The Reverso, so special?
It always comes back to the history and the craftsmanship of them. And also, the creativity of it, the artistry, and the talent of the people at the manufacture. It’s all those things combined. And that’s a very special feeling to try to capture. The watches feel good, they look beautiful, and there’s also this thing with Jaeger-LeCoultre, where people that are real fans of watchmaking really love and understand who they are and what they do, and it’s not just a symbol of monetary wealth, but it’s a much more artistic development, and a symbol of creativity.
And they are constantly innovating. They are always creating new timepieces, like the one I am wearing now, The Reverso. So it’s exciting for me to get closer to the process and get to see the work behind the piece. This is only the second time ever they’ve created a Reverso Chronograph, which also, for me, is something purely aesthetic, as I love having the skeleton case because you can really see all the inner workings of the watch.
You recently starred in a film alongside another Jaeger-LeCoultre ambassador, Anya Taylor-Joy, how has it been working with her?
Incredible. And this is another example of how these relationships grow. The Reverso initially was built for polo players and I know lots of Anya’s family play polo in Argentina, so that was something that felt quite organic. When we were talking on set, I would speak about Jaeger-LeCoultre, and she would see my passion for them, and that was kind of how she got introduced to Jaeger-LeCoultre then.
You started acting really young, was that always your dream or did it happen spontaneously?
I was fortunate to get a few breaks through my brother and sister being interested in acting and singing and dancing, so that kind of led me to the path, I suppose. And then I was fortunate to continue working, and working with good people, and learning. And that’s kind of what I’ve based my career on essentially–trying to work with good people and always approaching it as a student. Because I feel, with acting, each time you start a new project, you are starting afresh, so you might have more information and knowledge, but you are starting a new character and a new movie and a new type of storytelling, so it’s exciting to look at it like that.
Did you ever study acting?
A tiny bit when I was a kid. I went to a theater school for a couple of years and did some acting classes. But as an adult, not so much. I suppose I study in terms of, it’s difficult to study certain actors, but I watch people and I enjoy watching. I watch filmmakers that I really like and see what it is they are creating and how they are telling their stories. And also, actually, an interesting way of doing it, which in some ways is one of Jaeger-LeCoultre's ethos about learning from their history and progressing, is going back and finding scripts of movies that I like, reading the script, and then re-approaching the movie. Then you get an understanding of what might change from the script to the screen, and how things develop, so that’s also an interesting way of examining work that you like.
You've had an extremely active career, what have you learned about what roles to choose and which to deny? What attracts you most to a particular role?
In terms of the types of roles, it’s really a variety. If I have just played a character, and I feel like a new one is similar to that when I am reading it, then I probably won’t take it, because I have probably already explored what it was I was trying to say. It has much to do with the other creatives in the team, who the director is, and the script. And then, for me, it’s trying to do something unexpected for people to be like, ‘That’s something I haven’t seen him do before.’
What is a piece of advice you’d have liked to receive earlier in life that you would want to pass on?
It’s tricky because you learn the advice when it is applicable, and you have to experience the things for yourself. Advice, often, without having lived it, is difficult to take aboard. But it would probably be to trust your instincts, and listen to your own innervoice, because it’s easy in this industry to have lots of people giving their opinions and saying try this, do that, but ultimately, you know within yourself what’s right or not for yourself.
What's your favorite type of role to play? And what has been the most challenging type of role you've played?
They can be challenging for different reasons. Some have been very physically demanding shoots, others more emotionally draining, and some are challenging because the further the character is from yourself, the more information you have to create to play him authentically. So it’s about the people around you helping you to make that realistic and believable in your mind. Because you have to believe it yourself. So I would say the most difficult roles are the ones that don’t feel as believable in your own mind. If you have a doubt in your own mind then people watching will probably doubt you.
You have played a lot of roles that are fantastical, what attracts you to continue playing those types of roles?
I enjoy them, but also I think there is something about the more fantastical a character or a world, actually, the more honest you can be in terms of the core feelings that you are approaching, in some ways. Because it ultimately gets distilled down to the simple, pure emotions of it, whatever those might be. So it’s the way of approaching those in a fun, palatable way, where it is enjoyable to watch, but also speaking en masse to a lot of people.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
At the moment, I’ve been trying to learn to play baseball, because that’s something my son is interested in. So I’ve been going to the baseball batting cages, and he will crank the machine up to like the full speed, and I will stand there trying to survive.